When taking fluoxetine for depression, patients should follow whatever instructions were given by their treating health care professional. This drug is taken orally once a day, typically in the morning. In some cases, a doctor may recommend taking fluoxetine for depression twice a day, usually in the morning and at lunch. If prescribed, a liquid dose must be measured using whatever specific measuring device was given with the medication rather than a conventional measuring spoon. The dosage of fluoxetine for depression will vary among individuals and will often need to be adjusted when first prescribed.
This medication is available as a liquid solution and as a capsule or tablet. In most cases, a patient using fluoxetine for depression will take a liquid or capsule dose orally once a day. If the doctor recommends that the medication be given twice a day, it is often taken in the morning and at noon. Some capsules are delayed-release and need only be taken once weekly. It is not necessary to take the medication with food.
It can be difficult to determine the best dose for an individual patient. Doctors will usually begin with a low dose that is gradually increased until the patient feels well. It can take up to five weeks for a patient to experience the full benefit of this medication. Patients should not take any more or less of fluoxetine for depression than what their doctors prescribe, so liquid doses in particular must be measured with care using the measuring device given with the prescription.
A patient should not suddenly stop taking fluoxetine for depression. Doing so can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and tingling. Additionally, mood changes and anxiety can result. Rather than stop this medication suddenly, the dosage should be gradually decreased under the guidance of the prescribing health care professional.
Fluoxetine for depression is marketed under the brand name Prozac® in the United States. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that has been prescribed in America since its first introduction in 1986. Essentially, SSRIs work by blocking the body’s reabsorption of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. In doing do, SSRIs seem to help patients boost their moods.
There is a series of side effects associated with fluoxetine for depression. Weight loss, sexual side effects, and nausea are possible. Some patients can experience weakness, excessive sweating, and dry mouth. In some cases, severe side effects develop requiring immediate medical intervention. Signs include hallucination, difficulty breathing, and seizures.
Like many antidepressants, fluoxetine for depression may cause unexpected changes in mood and mental health. People less than 24 can experience suicidal tendencies and are cautioned before taking this medication. Individuals older than 24 can also become suicidal on this medication, especially when the dosage is changed. As a result, both patients and their friends and family should remain vigilant for signs of suicidal tendencies while undergoing treatment.